Your ‘job’ as our spa client: Breathe & Receive (We’ll do the work!)

In the spa industry a customer certainly has many choices for treatments.  Picking the right therapist, treatment and facility are important to your overall health and well-being and also to your overall satisfaction with your services. Of course the best way to be happy with your spa provider is to begin to communicate your needs even before you step through the door, and to continue to communicate with them to be sure your treatment goals are in line and on the same page with your spa professional. So, with that being said your ‘job’ during the treatment is to simply ‘breathe & receive’.

If you are new to the spa scene let us tell you a few ‘tips’ for receiving your best treatment. These are some tips straight from the Massage Therapists, Estheticians, and Nail Techs themselves. We are fortunate to get to chat with spa professionals all over the United States. Here are some of the things they’d love to tell you:

1. Don’t apologize to us before the treatments begin. We’ve seen it all and although personal hygiene is critical in our industry we don’t care if you didn’t shave your legs, have excessive hair, hangnails or any other small worrisome issue. We’ve seen the thinning hair, the bad surgeries and we’re okay with it. As long as you are clean and ready for our services, our job is to make you feel WONDERFUL. Come as you are – we want you to leave feeling amazing – your visit should transform you in some way. So let go of the superficial worries. We’re here because we want to make you feel wonderful.

2. Let us know if you’ve had a big change in life. This is so very helpful for any spa professional. If you have good news or bad, are elated with an engagement or grieving the loss of a loved one, believe it or not it can impact your experiences. The body remembers and responds differently to emotional needs. A client who may love deep work most of the times may be unable to tolerate it through a difficult emotional period. Sharing these ups and downs in life can help your therapist create a better treatment, offer you a service that may be a better fit or introduce a new modality – like aromatherapy, hot or cold therapies that may help your physical and emotional healing on a whole other level.

3. Tell us if it hurts. This shouldn’t even need to be said, but unfortunately many clients feel they need to tolerate deep work, so they suffer in silence. Let’s be clear, massage therapy can be intense but should never hurt. There is a difference between inflicting pain (‘Ow, get off me) and releasing pain (Ohhhhh, hurts so good). The former is an incorrect technique and the latter is deep tissue at it’s best. It’s common to feel some muscle soreness the next day. It would feel similar to going to the gym after a long absence and feeling the burn the next day. However, every client is different, so please, speak up. We always tell our new clients to use a scale from 1 to 10 – 1 being ‘are you even touching me?’ to 10 ‘GET OFF ME!’.  Don’t make us guess what you feel, speak up. We do get clues when working on people, but you don’t need to suffer in silence. Every spa professional wants to get you results, but they want you to do so comfortably.

4. Let’s get ‘personal’. Most spa professionals have their favorite products in their facilities. It’s not uncommon for clients to want to bring in their own lotions, nail colors etc. Many spas will honor this, but it’s always a great idea to ask prior to the treatment. Your home facial care may not work with the estheticians equipment. Your massage therapist might require a lotion with more ‘slip’ than your body lotion you apply after a bath. We like to make your time with us special, but sometimes there are reasons we can’t honor your request. If you don’t like a product being used, simply ask if they have others available. You can also let them know your preference in music, warmth and lighting.

5. Ask us about the products we use. Many customers have a pet peeve about being strong armed about purchasing an entire expensive line of products and most technicians are aware of this. Although many facilities will try to sell you an entire ‘at home facial care’ system, the fact is if we turn you off from our facility because you felt pressured to buy, then we aren’t doing our job. We want you to have GREAT results at home, so if you DON’T want to purchase, it’s really okay to say ‘no’. A better option is to be honest with us. Perhaps you are happy with your skin care line, maybe you can’t afford the whole series of products in one visit, maybe you just don’t spend that much time on your skin care. Everyone is different. So, just ask us – ‘out of these six skin care items, which two will do the most for me and why?’. Your spa professionals KNOW their stuff, they take extensive training and learn the ingredients. Many do make a commission on the sale, but many would rather you buy your skin care from them and forgo a tip. Why? If you get great results, you’ll give us referrals. Referrals are the life-blood of our industry. We value our clients above anything else. If you look and feel great – we do too!

6. Ask about ‘homework’. If you are having regular treatments for a chronic condition please ask what you can do at home. We are dedicated to getting your body to maximum wellness, but often we rely on YOU to do some of the work. Often it’s stretching, exercises, body mechanic changes, even changing a sleeping position. If your therapist suggests something – give it a try – they are looking after your long term health and you might actually need to see them less. And that’s okay. A good therapist will get you results, and they know you’ll be back when you need them, they also know you’ll happily send others. We love those clients.

7. Ask about Loyalty Programs. In an age of Groupon and ‘deep discounts’ a true spa professional has to compete in ways they didn’t before. Those programs do not pay your therapist a living wage and many do so at the expense of regular clients. A better approach is finding a spa partner whom you like and building a relationship with them. One innovative spa offers ‘Loyalty Rewards’ and forgo the discounted services.  ‘We value clients that value us. We have  packages that will save them on a series of services with a particular provider, give birthday gifts and also keep regular clients service fees at the last service rate prior to any increase for a year.’ says the owner. We think this out of the box thinking is the way to be sure the client and the spa workers are valued and happy.

8. Let us know if you need to cancel. Many spa professionals come in by appointments booked, even if it’s 15 minutes before you are to be there, it’s nice for us to know how to use our time. Even better if you can give us a day or several hours notice. We can often book another client. Many spa workers are only paid when they are working on a client. A ‘no show’ will cost them not just time, but money. If your spa professional is using a babysitter to watch children and you didn’t cancel – it’s a double whammy.

9. Breathe and Receive. Allow yourself to just ‘be’.  Allow yourself to receive. You can talk. Or not. You simply should ‘let go’ once you enter our doors. You are in the best care. Every therapist, esthetician and spa professional is truly dedicated to you. Allow us to make your day!

 

 

 

 

Cupping Therapy – My personal experience

Traditional cupping session.

They say there is a fine line between pleasure and pain, but there is no pleasure in those who have chronic pain or stress. As someone in the industry I often trade services with other massage and body work professionals to keep me in tip top shape. The past several months have been stressful ones (I won’t bore you with the details, but lets just say we kept getting hit again and again with situations out of our control that certainly piled up, literally, on my shoulders!). I did my ‘usual’ stress reducing plan: eating healthier, getting regular massage, heat packs and dry heat sauna, and of course my aromatherapy baths that usually melt me into a little puddle of joy… but this time, the pain upon my shoulders would not cease. It felt like a constant 50lb bar was being crushed into them non stop. Anti-inflammatory medications had little effect on me. What to do? Well, I believe that our bodies need to be ‘shaken’ up a bit – that’s why it’s a wonderful thing to experience a different touch or modality when your tried and true isn’t quite enough. A different approach at times, can truly make a difference in your body’s ability to heal itself. So lucky for me that I ran into Tzu, a fellow massage therapist that has now begun to offer cupping in her practice.

Cupping for those of you unfamiliar with the modality, is an ancient Chinese method of causing local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place. My session was done with the assist of a machine to which my therapist could control the suction strength.

The theory behind this practice is that the application will open up the chi (or the meridians), release toxins, increase and activate the lymphatic system and can penetrate deep into the muscles, similar, yet different to a deep tissue massage. The treatment is most often sought out for treatment of pain, congestion, coughing, and a variety of other issues.

Upon entering the office, Tzu warmly greeted me and took me to the massage room. There were no special instructions that I needed to follow. I told her that I was mainly looking to ease the pain and muscle adhesion that was plaguing across my neck and shoulders for the last two months.  Since much of my pain was stress induced and as the stresses were finally beginning to ease, I felt this would be a good adjunct therapy to get me ‘back to good’. I was excited to try it. I laid down and Tzu began on my back, placing one bulb and then the other on either side of my shoulders and adjusted the suction as needed. She moved them at different intervals across my back on either side of my spine and my neck. She increased or decreased the suction as required. As with regular massage much of my pain was referred pain from another area. This is quite evident when getting a cupping session because you are often left with marks (slight to medium bruising) that gives you a map of your soft tissue distress. The procedure wasn’t too painful – although I did have some ‘hot spots’ that flared up quickly. Mostly is feels as if someone is pulling at your skin, once the skin is released you can feel an immediate lightness in the surface area. At one point the therapist creates the suction on the spine and moves the ball up the spine. This was my favorite sensation of the actual cupping treatment. Tsu also combines heated pillow massage and a gentle muscle manipulation massage along with the cupping session, this brings her treatment to 90 minutes.

So what did I think?  Well, I am glad that I tried it and the results of my treatment were similar to a very deep tissue massage. I can’t say that my pain is gone, but it feels like the tightness has subsided a bit. My husband was appalled at the way my back looked with little circles of various colors of bruising from minor to a bright purple – even after I had shown him pictures of what to expect prior to it – it was unsettling to him. My body feels like it’s had a change in structure to the underlying fascia, which is what I had hoped. Although I do think I expected a deeper and more immediate relief than I experienced, I think this should be considered as another natural alternative to chronic pain and that others may have different results depending on what is being treated.

Would I recommend it? Yes – I believe that our bodies are capable of tremendous self healing and a good therapist can assist you with a treatment plan that is right for you. Since every therapist brings a different skill set and a personal philosophy to their table, it’s important to connect with different modalities when your tried and true are limiting your scope of healing. Cupping touts many benefits, some that I believe and a few I think are a bit far fetched depending on the research. You simply should do your homework and ask the questions before your appointment and convey your needs and expectations to your therapist. You know your body better than anyone and you know what is right for your body. As the ‘leader’ of YOUR health care team you owe it to yourself to try non-invasive treatments to assist with your quality of life. Also, on that note, as the leader of your health care team it is ALWAYS within your power to stop a treatment that is not what you expect or is painful. Listen to your body, listen to your intuition. Be pro-active in all aspects of your health.

Where can you find it?  Cupping is available by Licensed Massage Therapists or Acupuncturists. Look for those who are accredited, licensed and certified in the practice. As with any health care, be it holistic or traditional, you should check with a physician or other trusted health care provider to be sure that the treatment is safe for you.

In the Dayton area you may wish to contact Tzu at www.massagerx.co for a cupping session. She is a consummate professional and will take great care of you. Tell her Brenda sent you!

 

 

 

Wrap Me Up – Versatile New Product!

Announcing a versatile, detoxifying herbal bath bag from the makers of Clear My Head aromatherapy.

Wrap Me Up from Clear My Head provides a versatile detoxifying herbal wrap treatment or in spa bathing ritual that eases breathing, improves circulation and softens the skin. With Wrap Me Up, a 20-30 minute wrap is the ideal “wellness” offering in any spa or clinic.
Rosemary, peppermint, lavender, comfrey and eucalyptus highlight some of the body cleansing ingredients that fill Wrap Me Up’s convenient bath bag, with no messy loose herbs to contend with. Use as a rejuvenating wrap at the spa, in a soothing bath or as a pain-relieving compress, either hot or cold. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make this unique herbal mix ideal for arthritis sufferers, athletes or anyone who may experience chronic pain. The SPA Professional pack includes 12 ‘double’ bags suitable for herbal wrap treatments and is available exclusively to spa professionals.
Spa professionals can also offer clients the opportunity to enhance their wrap experience in between visits with Wrap Me Up herbal bath bags. Each attractively packaged Wrap Me Up in- home treatment includes two bath bags for continuing the detoxification process at home for the next two days. Suggested retail price of $15.00 each.

Client Benefits:

  • Increased Blood & Lymph Circulation
  • Tighten and Tone Skin
  • Soften Skin
  • Ease Pain of Sport Injury and/or Arthritis
  • Relaxation & Reduced Anxiety
  • Helps Skin Appearance with Acne, Eczema & Psoriasis
  • Increase Energy & Metabolism
  • Possible Weight Loss
  • Easier Breathing

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Clear My Head Linen Mists Now Available for Retail Sale

Clear My Head Herbal Care Products Announces Linen Mist Aromatherapy Line

Clear My Head Herbal Care Products has bottled their classic aromatherapy into a pump spray mist to be applied directly to spa linens or released into the air. While most linen sprays contain a floral scent, like lavender or jasmine, Linen Mist offers three original Clear My Head formulas.

The Linen Mist 2go Formula contains the original Clear My Head aromatherapy sinus blend. Ache Linen Mist offers the classic combination of scents, ideal for relieving tension headaches. Finally, “Sky High,” adds a refreshing touch of lemon to the 2go Formula.

“Some of our customers set our herbal inhalation jar on the floor, beneath the face cradle,” says Brenda Stansfield, founder and owner of Clear My Head. “The Linen Mist line lets the client experience the full benefits of our aromatherapy, up close.”.

Linen Mist from Clear My Head comes in a 4 ounce pump spray and retails for $15. Eight-ounce, SpaPro bottles are also available. For more information, contact Clear My Head Herbal Care Products by calling (937) 847-2222 or go online to www.clearmyhead.com.

Linen Mists to help you breath easy at night.

How to Choose a Massage Therapy School – by Nicole Canfora Lupo

 

How to Choose a Massage Therapy School

Guest Post by Nicole Canfora Lupo, subject expert on choosing and getting accepted into a massage therapy school, at www.massagetherapyprograms.net.

Massage therapists undergo hundreds of hours of coursework and hands-on experience in order to become professionals in their field. But first, they had to find a reputable massage therapy school that fit their needs and prepared them for real-world success.

School administrators, instructors and graduates all agree that you can’t just head to the yellow pages and randomly pick out a school to attend. Learning as much as you can about what each massage therapy school you’re considering offers is the key to getting a proper education and finding success in the field.

So where should you start? “Getting massages and talking to the therapists to see how they went about their schooling is the best way to go about it,” recommends Winona Bontrager, a licensed massage therapist, vice president on the Board of Directors of the American Massage Therapy Association and owner of the Lancaster School of Massage in Lancaster, Pa.

Bontrager advises would-be students to ask about class hours and program start dates; some schools have rolling admissions, while others only admit new students once or twice a year. If you have a busy schedule, it pays to find out what the typical study time is, in addition to hands-on work.

Beyond logistics, take a close look at the curriculum, says Pat Russo, director of sales and marketing for the Institute of Massage Therapy, which is affiliated with four hospitals throughout the state of New Jersey. “The student needs to understand what massage therapy is comprised of – there’s more than just the hands-on aspect of a massage therapy education,” she says. “There’s a lot of anatomy and physiology, which are just as important, if not more so. You don’t want to accidentally hurt someone in your practice.”

Do Your Homework
You’ll also need to ensure that the program you choose is legit. “The most important things to look for in a massage therapy school are accreditation and affiliations,” says Russo. In addition, instructors should be seasoned and have a minimum of two years’ field experience, so Russo encourages students to ask the admissions office at the massage therapy school under consideration about the backgrounds of its instructors.

Russo also advises that you get beyond the admissions rep by setting up interviews with alumni, current students and instructors, if you can, to ask about their experience. Bontrager suggests an additional tactic: “Ask where the school’s graduates work, and how long it takes them to find a job.”

See for Yourself
Visiting the campus can be crucial. “People may want more of a college experience or a more relaxed atmosphere – you get a sense of what suits you by going to the school,” explains Russo. “Someone who goes to three or four different schools before deciding on a massage therapy program is an educated student.”

Adrienne Dyer, a licensed massage therapist from Allentown, Pa., agrees that you shouldn’t just pick the first school you come across. “When I was first looking at schools, I immediately narrowed it down to accredited schools in my area,” she explains. “Then, I looked at the curriculum. The school I chose went above and beyond what I needed for certification.”

Her program gave her a well-rounded foundation in Eastern philosophy, such as shiatsu massage, among other techniques. “You get a basic foundation, and when you come out of the program, you hopefully know in which direction you want to go,” she explains.

Finally, it pays to ask about job placement services. “Most schools offer career placement guidance, which is important,” says Dyer. A massage therapy school that offers lifelong employment assistance can lead to continued success long after your schooling is completed.